This came up on my facebook feed this morning…..
Christopher – Tennessee, 21 years old, studied at Notre Dame
Though born in southern California, I was raised in a small Tennessee town, not far from Nashville. I am the oldest of eight children, the youngest five of whom are adopted (two of them from Ethiopia).
I was raised Catholic, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that fully practicing our Faith started to become important to my family and me. I became an altar server, and in eighth grade I had my first religion classes and went on my first retreat. It was around that time that I began to have sincere thoughts about becoming a priest, but in high school those thoughts were pushed to the back of my mind, later to be more or less dismissed. My faith remained important to me though, as I involved myself heavily in diocese-wide retreats and youth programs. After high school, I went to the University of Notre Dame, and in May 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Piano Performance.
I spent the spring semester of my junior year of college studying in Rome at the Dominican-run Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“the Angelicum”). Priesthood and religious life were still only at the back of my mind when I was in Rome, but as the semester progressed, the idea that God might be calling me to the priesthood slowly began to fight back to the forefront …
Now, that’ll wake up a mom; to see her son’s face and bio popping up on a social network feed. And as I’m working through this process – in my head and heart and blog – toward the Novitiate, this is the formal announcement of their new Novice Class for this coming year.
In a public way, this is the Dominican Order, claiming my son. Or, precisely, stating their intent to claim. This coming year will be a year of final discernment on both sides of the equation. My son will “live the life” and decide if God is truly calling him to a life of prayer and study and service; while the Order will decide, prayerfully, if they think he’s got the chops for it. Maybe his toe tapping and drumming will become annoying, I don’t know. Kidding…. But it’s a big year all around, for all of them.
Go see, it also shows a few of his new brothers to be: the whole Novitiate Class that will enter with him in July. These men, younger and older, will help each other in prayer and company and studying, through the joyous, profound moments, the goofy, and through the tougher times of uncertainty, and homesick for the life left behind. Big stuff indeed. I pray daily for all of these young men and their families. We welcome your prayers too if you think of it.